Police on beat in riot chaos capital

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“I’VE had all this training, got all my equipment but I was worried about being set on fire.”

So said PC Stuart Hind, one of the Derbyshire police officers suddenly sent to London as violent rioters rampaged through the capital.

They were called to duty at 1.30am last Tuesday to work 16-hour days in disorder hotspots torn apart by looters, arsonists and thugs.

“I was geared up for it when the call came but my wife and daughter were in tears”, said PC Hind, currently based at and living in Bolsover.

“They’d seen what was happening on the news.

“You think to yourself I’ve had all this training, got all my equipment, but I was worried about been set on fire.

“Some of the rumours were that rioters were attacking from the back as they knew that’s where we didn’t have any body armour.”

Around 24 Derbyshire Constabulary officers patrolled Camden, Croydon, Tottenham and Stratford – key to protect as the Olympic Village base – for three days.

They joined police from all over the country who united to combat the riots and relieve a stretched Metropolitan force.

Said PC Hind: “The first night we got there was still small scale disorder going off - a few windows broken, a bus attacked, people throwing stones, trying to get it back to the level it was.

“There were missiles and objects coming down... police everywhere trying to disrupt them

“People in these deprived areas were coming out and saying this needs to stop.”

Communities pulled together in the aftermath with clean up operations organised in mere hours through social networking websites.

PC Hind, 38, praised residents who gave police a kind word or drinks in the hot weather.

He said: “The most overwhelming thing was the amount of people, you couldn’t move for them, coming up to you and saying I’m so glad to see you

“I have never in my nine years of policing had so many say thanks for doing my job.

“A lot of the shops were closed or boarded up but the public spirit was like the war spirit – let’s get it sorted.”

Officers returned home last Friday.

ellen.beardmore@

derbyshiretimes.co.uk